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  #1  
Old 11-03-2006
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Question Building Her Confidence

Hi - I've only just joined the forum so appologies if I've posted this on the wrong board.

My partner is a good dingy sailor but I'm trying to get her onto larger yachts and hope to do some cruising.

The only trouble is that she is nervous of the boat heeling and captsizing. I've explained the theory of the AVS and conditions required to knock the boat down, and we've been sailing in different conditions (reefed & non reefed). She's been out on a course with a professional instructor, but is completely paranoid about the boat righting itself. Without seeing it in reality!

Does anyone know of any video that shows a boat going through and recovering from a knockdown situation either for real or in a test environment - as I don't really feel like demonstrating it for real myself!!
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If she's a dinghy sailor, how can she possibly be nervous about the boat heeling and possibly capsizing. Last I checked, that was pretty much a description of sailing a dinghy like a Laser... they capsize regularly.

The real problem is that in any knockdown, which doesn't actually take all that much...a good spinnaker broach will do the trick most of the time...there is a risk of downflooding and losing the boat.

If she's really nervous about heeling, sail a multihull. They don't heel very much at all...and are quite comfortable to sail on, even in conditions that make some monohull sailors green and re-thinking whether they should be out on the water.


BTW, welcome to sailnet, and this probably should have gone in the Her Sailnet forum.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 11-03-2006
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Yeah, dinghy sailing is *not* the best route to build confidence about capsizing! You might consider an inexpensive clinometer - when she feels like the boat is sideways, it's comforting to learn that you're really only at a whopping 20 degrees. (i.e., you still have 80 or so degrees to go before you're in trouble).
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Old 11-03-2006
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Send her to a sailing school, on her own so that she can build confidence through knowledge, there are a number of 3-4 day courses. Well worth it in your case. Make her a real partner in sailing.

I'm quite paranoid about dinghy sailing myself, been there .

Right now you are expecting her to have confidence through your abilitys
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Eryka and Jake-

You've missed my point.. His partner is a DINGHY SAILOR...

Quote:
My partner is a good dingy sailor but I'm trying to get her onto larger yachts and hope to do some cruising.
How the hell can you be a good dinghy sailor and be scared of heeling or capsizing...which, at least when I sailed on Sunfish and Lasers, was the normal part of doing business on them.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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But that's just it, Sailingdog -- all she's seen is boats that capsize readily, so why *shouldn't* she assume that the bigger boat will as well? Of course her intellectual brain understands about keels and ballast but subconsciously she's expecting the same tippiness she's experienced in the past (and I haven't been able to find online the video Simon asked about in his post)

Maybe Jake's suggestion for an onwater course is a step in the right direction - I know that I love to heel as long as I'm in any boat EXCEPT our own - hey wait this is my home you're talking about
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Old 11-03-2006
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disconnect issue here

i dunno..maybe it's just me, but i'm having a difficult time resolving the "she's a good dinghy sailor" and "she's afraid of big boats heeling" (all paraphrased cuz i'm too lazy to go back and quote directly)...unless i'm missing something here, and my dinghy experiences (laser, FJ,470, 505, FD, thistle) are atypical, all of em heel, and eventually all of em have gone over in big wind or ugly headers while on the trapeze on a spinnaker reach. (this has special meaning to me). my point, 'good' dinghy sailors grasp the concept of fixed ballast and take solace in knowing they aren't going over. (okay stupid trumps all situations, but you know what i mean).
i don't mean to come off cranky and crotchety..but send her off for lessons..and maybe reasess your definition of 'good'
i think i need more coffee...
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Welcome Simon15,
I recently started sailing along with my wife. She too suffered from the same fears when the boat was heeling. As we are learning together, the past few weekend of sailing have seemed to calm her fears. We sail on a large lake in NC and and the first couple days of sailing where in light winds. She wore her pfd and had a white knuckle grip on the stern rail. The next weekend, the wind was moderate (10-15) and we were heeled quite a bit. After several puffs that emptied the cabinets under full sail and her questioning me several times about how certaint I was that the boat would right itself, she would actually sit on the stern rail seat without holding the stern rail with a death grip. The following weekend began with heavy wind (15-20) with gusts to at least 30. We reefed everything we had and headed out. After about three hours of sailing, we dowsed the sails and motored the last half mile up our channel still heeling some when the big gusts hit. We both agreed that it was a great learning expirience but we would rather sail in lighter winds. The following day had lighter winds but still some gusts and we sailed all day. By the end of the day, my wife was at the wheel for over an hour without her pfd and really enjoying herself. If you and your partner are as determine as the two of us are to sail, expirience with a big dose of caution will overcome the fear of heeling to far!

I also read a post about reefing and heeling recentently which stated that the rail in the water is not necessarily the fastest sailing angle. Maybe SD can help refresh my feable memory. I tried to search for the post with no luck.

Enjoy and good Luck
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hitec1
Welcome Simon15,
I recently started sailing along with my wife. She too suffered from the same fears when the boat was heeling. As we are learning together, the past few weekend of sailing have seemed to calm her fears. We sail on a large lake in NC and and the first couple days of sailing where in light winds. She wore her pfd and had a white knuckle grip on the stern rail. The next weekend, the wind was moderate (10-15) and we were heeled quite a bit. After several puffs that emptied the cabinets under full sail and her questioning me several times about how certaint I was that the boat would right itself, she would actually sit on the stern rail seat without holding the stern rail with a death grip. The following weekend began with heavy wind (15-20) with gusts to at least 30. We reefed everything we had and headed out. After about three hours of sailing, we dowsed the sails and motored the last half mile up our channel still heeling some when the big gusts hit. We both agreed that it was a great learning expirience but we would rather sail in lighter winds. The following day had lighter winds but still some gusts and we sailed all day. By the end of the day, my wife was at the wheel for over an hour without her pfd and really enjoying herself. If you and your partner are as determine as the two of us are to sail, expirience with a big dose of caution will overcome the fear of heeling to far!

I also read a post about reefing and heeling recentently which stated that the rail in the water is not necessarily the fastest sailing angle. Maybe SD can help refresh my feable memory. I tried to search for the post with no luck.

Enjoy and good Luck
You don't say whether your wife was a sailor prior to joining you on the keelboat. Most sailboats are designed to sail fastest at a very moderate level of heel, usually 15-20 degrees but rarely more. This is because most boats start to get a fair bit of weather helm, and turning the rudder to counter the weather helm will act as a brake on the boat. Newer, beamier designs are generally faster when sailed quite flat, as it is generally the older designs, with long overhangs that require heeling to increase their effective waterline to sail faster.

Most dinghy sailors understand that a keelboat's keel will keep them from capsizing. If she does not, she really should take a basic keelboat course to gain some familiarity with the mechanics and physics behind a keelboat and why they do not generally capsize. It is probably unwise for you to try and explain it to her... it is generally much more productive if she learns it from an independent source.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

If you're new to the Sailnet Forums... please read this
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
.

Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.
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  #10  
Old 11-03-2006
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I can understand how someone could be OK with dinghy sailing but not a bigger boat. When you capsize a 420 or a Laser, you swim around the other side and right the boat. You can't do that with a big boat. Hence - the fear. I actually still have that fear when I sail, but I thrive on the adrenaline rush and "perceived" danger. I guess the answer is - the boat, if it is knocked down and depending on the design - can take water in and there is always the potential for sinking.

A few notes on this though. First of all, my wife was terrified when we first started going out. I spent a lot of time showing her how reefing reduces speed and heel. I showed her how to play the main sheet in gusts. I showed her how turning up and "pinching" when hard over can stall your sails. Toward the end of the season, I had her on the tiller and I was walking her through doing all of these things (as opposed to me on the tiller showing her). This went a long way to making her feel better. On our new Passport 40, the main sheet is by the companionway - well away from the wheel. I'm a bit nervous myself - I'm used to being able to control it. I may see how I can reroute it so I can access it from the wheel.

Another couple of notes - Generally speaking, a broach or knockdown in a keel boat will happen fairly slowly (relative to a small boat). You'll know what's going on. Can you change it? Only if you move quickly to dump the main or other sails, and even then it may be difficult. But you get time to mentally prepare for it. More often than not, unless you have your chute out, the boat will heavily round up before you have a complete knockdown. Except on pure racing boats with exceptionally deep rudders, the rudder will come out of the water and the boat will "quickly" turn into the wind, usually righting itself in the process. A chute may keep it pinned down. Also, the closer the mast gets to the water, the quicker the sails will stall, the slower the boat will go, the slower the water will move over the rudder and the natural tendency of the boat wanting to head into the wind will take over.

Of course, you also have to be smart about the weather you're in relative to the boat you're sailing. A light displacement large sail plan boat is going to have many more problems sooner than a heavy displacement medium sail plan boat. Also, "bluewater cruisers" (see threads in "buying a boat") are designed to have a lot less risk of taking on water due to knockdown than a coastal cruiser.

Here's a Melges racer broaching (right at the start of the video) and recovering... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0oOaF-_TjM
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